“Enthralling….My Perestroika gives you a privileged sense of learning the history of a place not from a book but from the people who lived it…Astoundingly timely.”

Stephen Holden, New York Times
(“NYT Critics’ Pick”)

Named FILM OF THE WEEK and #1 in CRITICS’ PICKS in Time Out NY
” Five Stars. Filled with lovely, unlikely ideas. My Perestroika wastes no time
confounding expectations. DON’T MISS THIS!”

– Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

“… a work of such exhilarating depth and humor”

-Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal

“An arresting visual scrapbook of the Soviet period.”

–Clifford Levy, New York Times

“Tender, engrossing and utterly brilliant. Thanks to Hessman’s archival research, you see the change in astonishing period images, including a lifetime of Borya’s home movies. The experience of change makes My Perestroika a film that shouldn’t be missed. The lifetime part makes it indispensable.”

- Stuart Klawans, The Nation

“Robin Hessman’s intimate and lovely documentary … follows five classmates who came of age right before the Iron Curtain fell – the children of a vanished world. Charting the ways that time, memory, and a rapidly changing society have affected their lives, it’s playful, insightful, hypnotic, and, ultimately, superb.”

- Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine

(“Twenty Very Best Movies at Sundance”)

“…profoundly insightful and overall stupendous …. My Perestroika must be considered one of the year’s best documentaries.”

- Stewart Nusbaumer, The Huffington Post

“Powerful. My Perestroika reminds us that no matter how repressive a government, no matter how entrenched attitudes may seem, underneath the surface there are countless individuals very much like us. Compelling. Impressive.”

– Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

“A terrifically engaging picture of life beyond the headlines, My Perestroika lifts the veil of Cold War mystery. My Perestroika is as attuned to the absurdities of politics and the sustaining value of culture as it is to a pure nostalgia for childhood.”

- Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

“A lively glimpse behind the Iron Curtain and a revealing look at us, too.”

- Four Stars! Loren King, The Boston Globe

“In My Perestroika it’s not just the kids who face the perplexities of growing up. It’s an entire nation.”

- Mark Jenkins, The Washington Post
(Washington Post Critics’ Pick.)

“FASCINATING! Full of surprises.”

- Richard Schickel,

“…an intimate epic…..never fails to be engrossing”

– David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle

“Это удивительно точное погружение в нашу жизнь — без пафоса, но и без цинизма, с сочувствием, острым юмором, но без яда.”

-Andrei Plakhov, Kommersant

“Robin Hessman’s debut feature is a documentary of considerable charm and nonjudgmental insight…Home movies and vintage propaganda footage fill out this lovingly crafted pic’s engrossing progress.”

– Denis Harvey, VARIETY

“…a powerful and surprisingly humorous examination of life under government control and a welcome insight into the day-to-day lives of a particularly captivating group of Russians.”

– Chris Kompanek,
(Chose My Perestroika as one of the “Must-see Indie flicks at New Directors/New Films“)

“…a documentary so good at breaking the rules of historical docs that it makes you question why anyone ever follows them.”

– Mary Anderson Casavant, Filmmaker Magazine

“The great hallmark of Hessman’s film is its intimacy; her subjects, ranging from husband and wife school teachers to a punk-turned-subway busker to an international businessman, casually tell their own stories over vodka and home movies, with no top-down narration or intervention.”

– Karina Longworth, Village Voice/ LA Weekly

“My Perestroika, a terrific documentary by Robin Hessman…arrives at a comprehensive, powerful summation of the perennial instability of Russian life as a whole.”

– Robert Levin, amNewYork

“In Robin Hessman’s tender and revealing documentary, a group of ordinary Russians tell their own stories and shed light on their country’s dramatic past… Hessman…humanize[s] a subject that is so often treated with distance and an emotional measure of remove.”

– Mike Tully, Hammer to Nail

“Tightrope-walking between cultures during the Cold War’s thaw, Hessman possesses an East-West street cred that pays off in spades with her honestly reflective and unselfconscious subjects…thrilling viewing…”

– Lauren Wissot, Slant Magazine

“What is most remarkable about My Perestroika are not the poignant and surprising revelations about life in Russia, but the extreme level of intimacy that Hessman maintains in each interview.”

– Alicia Van Couvering, Filmmaker

“four stars…my favorite film of the young year…”

– Ethan Alter,

“Speaking as a former Moscow correspondent from the 1960s and 1970s (Associated Press), I can say confidently this film gets inside the Russian mind better than any other documentary has managed.”

– Michael Johnson, American Spectator

Selected Interviews/Articles